Two Spaces or One?

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When I took typing back in the seventh grade (personal computers weren’t even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eyes back then), I was taught to use two spaces after each period.  To this day I continue adding those two spaces as I type on my computer keyboard, a habit that is so thoroughly engrained in me that I can’t imagine following today’s standard.

Which is…one space between sentences.  Ouch!

Where did this rule come from?  The evil people at APA decided to confound everyone who ever took typing by changing the requirement?  Robert Goulet snuck in while everyone was napping and wrote new rules?

It may as well be that arbitrary.  The only explanation I’ve ever heard–and I have no idea if this truly is the derivation of the one-space mania–is that two spaces screw up proportional alignment on computer fonts when you print things out. (Okay, so how many spaces did linotypists use?  I’ve got to know!)

I guess.  Anybody got a better explanation?

Categories: Grammar Sucks

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